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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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Entries in ONE THING (4)


student of mercy

I echo David in Psalm 27: ONE THING I ask and seek, to muse the beauty of the Lord. During fall break we camped at the Smokies. I had plenty of time to muse and drew this sitting around the campfire. My journal still smells like smoke.

I am a student of mercy. 

If I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned my need to continue to gaze at the mercy of Christ in order to live a merciful life. As we have pondered and grappled with mercy over at Mercy Mondays with Jenn LeBow, all of us have been changed. That’s because when we gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, we are changed. Some facet of our lives reflect more purely the character of Jesus.

Mercy exists because our God is merciful. He has more attributes than I have words. In my finite mind, I like to boil His character down to Mercy and Strength. We humans are usually stronger in one of these character traits than the other. But God holds them both equally.

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Ever need to be refreshed?

I do. And the beach is the perfect place for it. Sometimes we get clogged up or weary. Sometimes the soul is tired from carrying things it is not meant to carry. Sometimes the body gets exhausted. 

Even God rested. Surely I can admit that I need to be refreshed. 

Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed. Exodus 23:12

The verse above uses the Hebrew verb napesh and it means to be refreshed as if by a current of air. I’ll add a gulf breeze.

It can also mean to take a breath and it is a close relative of the verb in Genesis 2:7 “to breathe” describing the moment when God breathed into us life and deposited our souls. 

Soul and breath are inseparable.


inner peace

My eyes flew open at 5:00 a.m. and my heart pounded in my chest from the nightmare. Matthew was alone, sick and desperate in the horrible scenario in the dream. This is a recurrent nightmare - one of my children is separated from me and in need. I cannot get to him. I had this nightmare many times in Honduras until it became REAL and I had to leave four of my sons there. That is another story. But the lesson is the same. 

A partial truth is the calling card of the Enemy. Matthew is sick. He has mono; we got the test results yesterday. He is not alone. He is not desperate. Nonetheless, I got up at 5:00 a.m. and began a battle to release my worries and fears to the Lord.

After making some Cuban petrol, aka strong Cuban coffee; I took up my post on the patio in the cool of the morning. Did you hear me? I said cool. What a change! Wrapped in a fuzzy brown blanket full of holes (Skip chews holes in every blanket we have), I opened my Battle Plan. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young lead me to Psalm 27. Verse 4 is my verse for 2011. One thing is the theme of this blog... I will seek ONE THING. 

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 

And so I began to realize the two scenarios in Psalm 27. There is an internal truth: David says, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life.” Then there is the external truth: a day of trouble. Evil men are advancing to devour his flesh. He has oppressors, false witnesses breathing violence, an army besieging him. 

While all this swirls about David, his private world is at peace because the Lord is his stronghold. Inside there is light. He is safe. He is sacrificing with shouts of joy. He is confident and singing. He calls out to the Lord. He asks to learn His ways. Both of his eyes are gazing upon the beauty of the Lord. His soul says to seek the face of the Lord. He is hidden in the shelter of the Lord’s tabernacle.

The concluding verse says:

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Yes, Lord, I will wait. Meanwhile, I will trust and give thanks and gaze.



Matt found this little nest in a fern hanging on our front porch. He said he went to water it and two eyes looked back at him. We actually discerned two little birds in the nest. They flew away but left one egg.con-verg-ence: noun \kən-ˈvər-jən(t)s\
: the act of converging and especially moving toward union or uniformity; especially : coordinated movement of the two eyes so that the image of a single point is formed on corresponding retinal areas

The reason I want convergence in my life is my desire for my life to point to ONE THING. The one egg in the little nest on the masthead of this blog is symbolic of that ONE THING. It is captured in the psalmist’s heart in Psalm 27:

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. verse 4

One way I seek this one thing is to bring all the parts of me to the bountiful table of grace. Early on in my life and walk with Christ, I only allowed the parts of myself that were “together” to come feast hiding those more unattractive, needy parts. The Pharisee in me ruled this table. Through pain and suffering, God has allowed me to become more grace-filled to invite all of me there. Sometimes when I see a particular area of sin or a “me” that I don’t much like, I visually invite that version of me to the table of grace. 

Before you freak out, this is not a Sybil-like experience, but the realization that I am made up of various parts. There is the part of me that is so terrified of snakes that I left a toddler (safe in a pack n play, ok) and ran for my life when one flopped out in front of me.  Matthew (now 20) played while I cleaned up the yard. About 15 yards away, I unwrapped the spigot that had been covered tightly for winter so that it did not freeze. As I unwound the wrapping, a snake fell out of it. No conscious decisions were made, I just fled. I looked back after about 30 seconds and saw my toddler in the pack n play and ran back and grabbed him. Screaming. Flailing. Crying. In that moment, I had to face the facts that given life-threatening situations, I may or may not protect my children first. Scary. True.

So that scared mother who had failed her baby... she has to come to the table of grace. The ugly parts of me that love to gossip. The liar. The manipulator. The smart aleck. The cynic. These parts must partake. In fact, the pharisee must come and eat. 

As these parts converge at the table of grace, I experience wholeness in Christ.